“Is She Drunk?” Disability and Intersectional Stereotyping at Work

“Is She Drunk?” Disability and Intersectional Stereotyping at Work

  • Case
  • Teaching Notes

Maryanne is the owner and CEO of a retail toy store and associated day care supply distribution business. She recently hired an indigenous woman named Winona for a customer-facing job. Winona’s performance has been very good; however, customers frequently mistake her mild tremors, which are caused by a neurological condition, for signs of drunkenness. Maryanne has been facing escalating backlash from a portion of her customer base as a result of false allegations that she permits a drunken employee to work in an area frequented by children. She must decide how to handle the situation in a manner that is practical for her business but also ethical, legal, and fair. Maryanne considers multiple options, allowing for exploration of legal and ethical issues surrounding disability rights, direct and indirect discrimination, stereotyping and marginalization of indigenous workers, making appropriate termination and reassignment decisions, and the impact of public bias in task allocation and workplace justice.

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